Lizzie Koch’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: Innocence Lost
What if you die?” Casey asked her father. “Who’ll protect me then?”
“I’m not going to die Casey,” Fynn reassured.
“That’s a stupid thing to say. Everyone dies.” She stared at him, noting a flicker of defeat belying his self assured, firm expression. “I need to start protecting myself because one day . . . you won’t be able to.” She spoke softly. Arguing and shouting at her father never worked.
“Promise me you stay close. Do as I say.”
Casey smiled, taking the rifle.
This was Casey’s world now. She had to learn to fight and defend instead of babysitting the kids. She’d killed her fair share of Biters; it wasn’t easy . . . at first. She had to shake the thought there was anything human left about them. Once she did that, there was no more hesitations.
Raiders were different.
There were two types of human; Survivors or Raiders. Casey’s group were Survivors, trying to make a community, to settle in one place for as long as possible. Defending against Biter’s was easy. It was the Raiders who made surviving difficult.
And they were fast approaching.
They never negotiated. They never showed mercy. They took what they wanted and destroyed what they didn’t. Including people.
“Keep your eye on one target. Don’t change your mind, Don’t hesitate,” Fynn whispered as they bunked down behind the barricade. “You boys OK?” he asked AJ and Jack. They were in Casey’s class at school. It was their first time on the front line too. They nodded.
Silence crept across the camp. Her trigger finger trembled. Waiting was the worst. It seemed like an eternity but she knew the Raiders were waiting for the sun to set which wasn’t long as streaks of red blazoned across the sky, bidding the sun farewell.
“And remember,” Fynn said, “shoot to kill.”
As he finished, the silence cracked. Casey couldn’t decide whether the Raiders were clever or stupid. Raiders preferred quieter methods of killing which meant getting in real close. Up against a bullet; no contest. But noise attracted any nearby Biters and the Raiders were vulnerable. It didn’t seem to bother Casey’s father as he fired shot after shot. Her head felt like it was splitting. She couldn’t concentrate, her eyes ached as she tried to focus on a target. Right in front of her. Stooped and moving quickly, the target was in easy range. She tried to block out the surrounding mayhem, the shouts as AJ was hit in the shoulder.
Her breathing steadied.
She squeezed the trigger.
The target crumbled. Still.
No one noticed. But Casey did. She couldn’t lift her eyes from the body, lying a few feet away. She didn’t notice the gunfire peeter out until an uncomfortable silence descended.
The Raiders were gone, leaving their dead.
“You did good,” Fynn said, resting a hand on Casey’s shoulder. “Real good.”
She was about to reply when a faint groaning echoed through the dark, over the boundary.
“I’ll check it out. Stay here.” Fynn scrambled over the boundary with Jack. Casey watched as they dragged a body back, where Casey had hit her target.
“Is he still alive?” she asked as the man groaned.
“Barely.” Casey looked on as her father stripped off the man’s headgear, revealing a young face who, if things were different, could have been in the same class as Casey. She felt sick. Her first kill wasn’t a kill and it wasn’t a man. “We’ll get him to sick bay.”
Casey wasn’t allowed in but Jack gave her his belongings to search through. There wasn’t much. A few sticks of gum, a bottle of water, a roll of money which was useless in this new world and a tatty music magazine. He liked the same bands she did.
A hand gently shook Casey awake. She had fallen asleep, clasping the magazine. She looked up into her father’s tired face. “I’m sorry Casey. He didn’t make it.” His arms wrapped around her, no longer able to shield her from death, from pain. The last shred of her innocence died with the boy.
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I dream of sharing my work with the big wide world one day as a published author. Right now, I share flash fiction with a wonderful community of writers and friends. If you liked this story, then why not visit my blog at http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/ for more. Thank you. Love Lizzie x